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Ritzy Entry [Aug. 23rd, 2011|04:36 pm]
There were crackers called Cheese Ritz when I was a kid. They were Ritz crackers with cheese flavoring. My mom used to give them to me as an afternoon snack, and sometimes, when money was tight, they were a feature of lunch itself, maybe with a bowl of soup or a chunk of actual cheese. I didn't mind lunch being so simple, as when I was four or five years old Cheese Ritz crackers were just about my favorite food.

Cheese Ritz must have vanished from the market shelves decades ago, and I hadn't thought of them in years until I realized that the hunk of Monterey Jack in my refrigerator had been sitting there quite a while and that I'd better use it up before it got mouldy. I ate some with a few regular Ritz crackers, and it brought to mind the Cheese Ritz-based lunches of my early childhood, and made me wonder whatever became of Cheese Ritz.

The last time I thought of Cheese Ritz I didn't have the Internets, but now I can Google it, so that's what I did. It seems that practically nobody on the Internets remembers Cheese Ritz. After several pages of Google results, I'd found references only to things such as Ritz Bits with cheese (not at all the same thing,) recipes that use both cheese and Ritz crackers, and something called Ritz Cheese Flavour Crackers, which are available in the UK and Ireland.

I don't think the English Cheese Flavoured Ritz crackers are the same thing as the historic Cheese Ritz, though. The picture of the English Ritz shows something that looks pretty much the same color as an ordinary Ritz cracker, and I recall the Cheese Ritz of my childhood being darker, almost the color of chedder, like Cheeze-Its or Cheese Nips. They were way better than those smaller snack crackers, though, as they had the flaky texture characteristic of regular Ritz crackers.

The absence of any references to Cheese Ritz on the Internet made me wonder if perhaps I'd imagined them, and had developed a false memory out of some subconscious wish for a really good cheese flavored cracker. Given the Internet's plethora of nostalgia-based web sites, it seemed strange that something which looms so large in my early memories would be entirely absent from the web.

Finally, I thought to switch to Google image search, and this came up. The package is not quite like those I remember, but then it dates from the 1970s, some twenty years later. It's nice to know that the Internet provides proof of their existence after all, but I remain puzzled as to why there is so little about them. Perhaps most of those who would remember them have died of buttery-cheese-flavored-cracker-related coronary disease.

[User Picture]From: saltdawg
2011-08-23 11:44 pm (UTC)
I remember the 70's era version. I liked them, but apparently my mother preferred Cheeze-its because that was our primary snack food in the house.

I liked the Pizza flavor goldfish myself, which my father would get for me when I went to the Package store with him. Of course, he'd eat the lion's share with his 40oz of Colt .45
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[User Picture]From: saltdawg
2011-08-23 11:57 pm (UTC)
And I know that package was from the 70's because the Cheddar cheese was all mellow and shit.
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2011-08-24 08:59 pm (UTC)
Cheese-Its were cheesier than Cheese Ritz, probably in part because of the cheese-flavored powder on the outside that leaves your fingers yellow. My mom abhorred Cheese-Its, because they resulted in yellow kid fingerprints everywhere.

Goldfish didn't exist when I was a kid, and I don't think I've ever had the pizza flavored ones, but any variety of goldfish requires 40oz of something liquid, just to keep them from becoming mouth plaster.
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[User Picture]From: leprosy
2011-08-24 01:13 am (UTC)
I remember Cheese Ritz!

They were yummy.

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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2011-08-24 09:11 pm (UTC)

ooh, tastes cheesy!
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[User Picture]From: chrishansenhome
2011-08-24 06:27 am (UTC)
I remember them too. I don't recall "Cheese-flavoured Ritz" crackers here, but I'll look the next time I go to a largeish supermarket.

I suppose that since most people ate Ritz crackers with cheese on them (or peanut butter, of course) then making Cheese Ritz might have been thought to be overkill. Or perhaps people complained because they forgot and put peanut butter on them.
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2011-08-24 09:51 pm (UTC)
I noticed that in the UK Ritz crackers are made by Kraft Foods, which is a big cheese in the cheese business. Here they're still made by grain-oriented Nabisco. I wonder if that has something to do with the survival of Cheese Ritz abroad?

I sometimes fill celery with both peanut butter and cream cheese, and I find the result pretty tasty, but peanut butter and cheddar together might be a bit much.
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From: tpursch
2011-08-25 04:57 am (UTC)

nice package

I noticed that the ingredients are listed on the package. I didn't see High Fructose Corn Syrup. Shocking!!! What were they thinking. Quick, add some sugar.
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